UCI-led study uses plankton genomes as global biosensors of ocean ecosystem stress

Irvine, Calif., April 15, 2021 — By analyzing gains and losses in the genes of phytoplankton samples collected in all major ocean regions, researchers at the University of California, Irvine have created the most nuanced and high-resolution map yet to show where these photosynthetic organisms either thrive or are forced to adapt to limited quantities of key nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and iron.

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Corals Carefully Organize Proteins to Form Rock-Hard Skeletons

Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who championed the theory of evolution, noted that corals form far-reaching structures, largely made of limestone, that surround tropical islands. He didn’t know how they performed this feat. Now, Rutgers scientists have shown that coral structures consist of a biomineral containing a highly organized organic mix of proteins that resembles what is in our bones. Their study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, shows for the first time that several proteins are organized spatially – a process that’s critical to forming a rock-hard coral skeleton.

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New U.S. Carbon Monitor website compares emissions among the 50 states

Irvine, Calif., April 7, 2021 — Following last year’s successful launch of a global carbon monitor website to track and display greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of sources, an international team led by Earth system scientists from the University of California, Irvine is unveiling this week a new data resource focused on the United States.

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Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Viral ‘Pandemics’ in Oceans

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 6, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick microbial oceanographer Kay D. Bidle is available for interviews on the persistent

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Overfishing of Atlantic Cod Likely Did Not Cause Genetic Changes

Overfishing likely did not cause the Atlantic cod, an iconic species, to evolve genetically and mature earlier, according to a study led by Rutgers University and the University of Oslo – the first of its kind – with major implications for ocean conservation.

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Climate change cut farming productivity growth 21% since 1960s

Despite important agricultural advancements to feed the world in the last 60 years, a Cornell University-led study shows that global farming productivity is 21% lower than it could have been without climate change. This is the equivalent of losing about seven years of farm productivity increases since the 1960s.

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Bald eagle count quadruples, thanks in part to eBird data boost

For the past 50 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been assembling counts of bald eagle nests to track the triumphant recovery of America’s national symbol. But in its new bald eagle population report – tabulated with the help of results using eBird data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – the USFWS found many more eagles than previously thought to exist in the Lower 48 states.

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Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss 17-Year Cicadas in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 18, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick entomologist George C. Hamilton is available for interviews on the upcoming emergence of 17-year

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Chula Engineering Cures Salty Tap Water with NanoTech

During the dry season this year, Bangkok residents have faced the saltiest tap water problem in 20 years as a result of global warming and seawater rise. Chulalongkorn engineers predict the problem to persist until May and have proposed solutions with desalination technology.

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“Ghost Forests” Expanding Along Northeast U.S. Coast

Why are “ghost forests” filled with dead trees expanding along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coast? Higher groundwater levels linked to sea-level rise and increased flooding from storm surges and very high tides are likely the most important factors, according to a Rutgers study on the impacts of climate change that suggests how to enhance land-use planning.

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NASA Images Reveal Important Forests and Wetlands are Disappearing in Belize

Using NASA satellite images and machine learning, researchers with The University of Texas at Austin have mapped changes in the landscape of northwestern Belize over a span of four decades, finding significant losses of forest and wetlands, but also successful regrowth of forest in established conservation zones that protect surviving structures of the ancient Maya.

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Nation’s first green hydrogen ‘energy station’ expected 2022

Catalyzed by a Cornell University grant and Cornell sustainability research over the past decade, energy storage company Standard Hydrogen Corporation (SHC) and National Grid announced plans March 11 to build the first hydrogen “energy station” of its kind in the nation. The SHC Energy Transfer System will be built in New York’s Capital Region; completion is expected by late 2022.

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Higher Pollen Levels Correlated With Increased Coronavirus Infection Rates

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 9, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick allergy specialist Leonard Bielory is available for interviews on a

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Rutgers Wildlife Experts Can Discuss Coyotes in New Jersey

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 2, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick wildlife experts Kathleen Kerwin and Chris Crosby are available for interviews

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To sustain a thriving café culture, we must ditch the disposable cup.

Takeaway coffees – they’re a convenient start for millions of people each day, but while the caffeine perks us up, the disposable cups drag us down, with nearly 300 billion ending up in landfill each year.

While most coffee drinkers are happy to make a switch to sustainable practices, new research from the University of South Australia shows that an absence of infrastructure and a general ‘throwaway’ culture is severely delaying sustainable change.

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Microplastic Sizes in Hudson-Raritan Estuary and Coastal Ocean Revealed

Rutgers scientists for the first time have pinpointed the sizes of microplastics from a highly urbanized estuarine and coastal system with numerous sources of fresh water, including the Hudson River and Raritan River. Their study of tiny pieces of plastic in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary in New Jersey and New York indicates that stormwater could be an important source of the plastic pollution that plagues oceans, bays, rivers and other waters and threatens aquatic and other life.

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Drifter or Homebody? Study First to Show Where Whitespotted Eagle Rays Roam

It’s made for long-distance travel, yet movement patterns of the whitespotted eagle ray remain a mystery. Between 2016 and 2018, scientists fitted 54 rays with acoustic transmitters and tracked them along both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts of Florida, which differ in environmental characteristics. Results of the study reveal striking differences in travel patterns on the Atlantic coast compared to the Gulf coast. Findings have significant conservation and adaptive management implications for this protected species.

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Fishes Contribute Roughly 1.65 Billion Tons of Carbon in Feces and Other Matter Annually

Scientists have little understanding of the role fishes play in the global carbon cycle linked to climate change, but a Rutgers-led study found that carbon in feces, respiration and other excretions from fishes – roughly 1.65 billion tons annually – make up about 16 percent of the total carbon that sinks below the ocean’s upper layers.

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The 20 best places to tackle U.S. farm nitrogen pollution

A pioneering study of U.S nitrogen use in agriculture has identified 20 places across the country where farmers, government, and citizens should target nitrogen reduction efforts.

The 20 nitrogen “hotspots of opportunity”–which appear on a striking map–represent a whopping 63% of the total surplus nitrogen balance in U.S. croplands, but only 24% of U.S. cropland area.

Nitrogen inputs are so high in these areas that farmers can most likely reduce nitrogen use without hurting crop yields.

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Bacteria and Algae Get Rides in Clouds

Human health and ecosystems could be affected by microbes including cyanobacteria and algae that hitch rides in clouds and enter soil, lakes, oceans and other environments when it rains, according to a Rutgers co-authored study.

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How Rocks Rusted on Earth and Turned Red

How did rocks rust on Earth and turn red? A Rutgers-led study has shed new light on the important phenomenon and will help address questions about the Late Triassic climate more than 200 million years ago, when greenhouse gas levels were high enough to be a model for what our planet may be like in the future.

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Fields of Breeders’ Dreams: A Team Effort Toward Targeted Crop Improvements

In Nature, a multi-institutional team including DOE Joint Genome Institute researchers has produced a high-quality reference sequence of the complex switchgrass genome. Building off this work, bioenergy researchers are exploring targeted genome editing techniques to customize the crop.

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Important Climate Change Mystery Solved by Scientists

Scientists have resolved a key climate change mystery, showing that the annual global temperature today is the warmest of the past 10,000 years – contrary to recent research, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Nature. The long-standing mystery is called the “Holocene temperature conundrum,” with some skeptics contending that climate model predictions of future warming must be wrong. The scientists say their findings will challenge long-held views on the temperature history in the Holocene era, which began about 12,000 years ago.

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Increasing ocean temperature threatens Greenland’s ice sheet

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 25, 2021 — Scientists at the University of California, Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have for the first time quantified how warming coastal waters are impacting individual glaciers in Greenland’s fjords. Their work is the subject of a study published recently in Science Advances. Working under the auspices of the Oceans Melting Greenland mission for the past five years, the researchers used ships and aircraft to survey 226 glaciers in all sectors of one of Earth’s largest islands.

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Nuclear War Could Trigger Big El Niño and Decrease Seafood

A nuclear war could trigger an unprecedented El Niño-like warming episode in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, slashing algal populations by 40 percent and likely lowering the fish catch, according to a Rutgers-led study. The research, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, shows that turning to the oceans for food if land-based farming fails after a nuclear war is unlikely to be a successful strategy – at least in the equatorial Pacific.

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Rutgers Legal Expert Available to Discuss Environmental, Climate Change Priorities

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 21, 2021) – Rutgers University Professor Cymie R. Payne, an expert on United States and international environmental

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Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss U.S. Rejoining Paris Climate Agreement

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 20, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Pamela McElwee and Robert E. Kopp are available for interviews on the announcement that

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Greenland Melting Likely Increased by Bacteria in Sediment

Bacteria are likely triggering greater melting on the Greenland ice sheet, possibly increasing the island’s contribution to sea-level rise, according to Rutgers scientists. That’s because the microbes cause sunlight-absorbing sediment to clump together and accumulate in the meltwater streams, according to a Rutgers-led study – the first of its kind – in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The findings can be incorporated in climate models, leading to more accurate predictions of melting, scientists say.

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Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Record Year for Bald Eagles in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 13, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick ecologist Michael C. Allen is available for interviews on the record

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Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Addressing Climate Change, Environmental Protection in 2021

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 12, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Pamela McElwee are available for interviews on how President-elect Joe

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Big Differences in How Coral Reef Fish Larvae are Dispersed

How the larvae of colorful clownfish that live among coral reefs in the Philippines are dispersed varies widely, depending on the year and seasons – a Rutgers-led finding that could help scientists improve conservation of species. Right after most coral reef fish hatch, they join a swirling sea of plankton as tiny, transparent larvae. Then currents, winds and waves disperse them, frequently to different reefs.

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EPA Attacks Science and Breaks Precedent in Final Data Transparency Rule

The American Thoracic Society opposes the EPA’s final rule on Data Transparency issued in the waning days of the Trump Administration. The final rule, which is the focus of a press conference today, is a continuation of the Trump Administration’s persistent attack on the science showing the adverse health effects of environmental pollution. This rule would exclude vital scientific data from future EPA decision-making and make patient confidential information more vulnerable to public disclosure.

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